I can't remember when I learned how to read. I know that I picked up on it prior to elementary school, but I have no idea of the precise point in the timeline. Although, I do recall my Great Gramma taking me to the library to get my own library card and the many subsequent trips in which I left with a pile of books. Great Gramma would return them, a few at a time, on her daily jaunt to her post office box. Additionally, I remember gradually working my way up from easy readers and small chapter books to, what I considered at the time, big kid books. It was smooth sailing from there.

Growing up, I seemed to be leagues ahead of my peers when it came to reading. It helped that I was surrounded by voracious readers to include my Great Gramma, Gramma, Aunts, Godmother, and Mom. I was accepted into an advanced reading program in elementary and took advantage of the Accelerated Reading Program in 4th and 5th grade. Accelerated Reading was one of those programs where each book in the school library had a point value from about 3 or 4 to 15. You would read the book, then take a quiz on the library's computers about the book. You accumulated points throughout the year, and at the end of the year, be eligible for a cool event (usually a picnic at a local park) with all the other accelerated readers. Maybe this is where my love for achievements, in gaming, stemmed.

My biggest dislike during this time of my life, in the realm of scholastic (Scholastic?) adventures, was the dreaded summer reading list. I maintain a rampant disdain for book lists. I understand using them to give a little push to kids who may not be as taken to reading, but when you're an avid reader already, nothing is worse than being told what to read. To this day, I have to come around to something (book, show, movie, etc) when I'm good and ready and not just because it is on some list.

All of that said, I started reflecting back on where my love of reading came from over the past few months. My younger niece, who is 7, has honed her reading skills fairly well over this past school year. You know how most adults will spell a word in front of a younger kid, especially if it is a surprise for something down the road or, usually, because it is something they shouldn't hear? That little trick doesn't work any longer with my niece. I spelled a pretty lengthy word out a few months ago, and after a few seconds of thought (as she figured out the letters and pronunciation), she said it. She, recently, began to request "chapter" books, which makes me an incredibly happy Auntie. As luck would have it, there was a book fair at the Mandarin Library ($10 per paper bag full of books!) soon after and I stocked her up on anything in which I thought she may find interest from easy readers to nonfiction about her favorite animals.

I picked out some books for the older niece, who is soon-to-be 14, as well. She's rather selective when it comes to what she reads. She dwells more towards fiction where she could see herself as the main character, which usually means Aunt Mandie can leave the science fiction and fantasy on the shelf. I can only hope that I found some that interest her.

As for myself, I read anything that catches my eye or perks my interest, and my book collection is ever growing. Considering the addition of e-books and audiobooks, my collection is rather large. As I said when reviewing The Martian, I haven't given audiobooks a fair share of my time, but that seems to be turning around, as I have a few that I've bought through Audible and there are a number of audiobooks and audioplays based on Doctor Who and Torchwood that are on my to-read/to-listen list.

That just about sums up my background on reading, books, and my continued love of the written word. I do have a profile on Goodreads, if you are interested in following me over there and I love to hear feedback and recommendations. Please feel free to send some my direction!

Currently Reading: Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon AND Tess of the d'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy (I'm taking this one a bit at a time)

Currently Listening: Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

On the Horizon

  • Torchwood: Exodus Code, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
  • The rest of the Outlander series
  • American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer
  • Failure Is Not An Option, by Gene Krantz
  • Wolfheart (a World of Warcraft novel), by Richard Knaak
  • Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde (a World of Warcraft novel), by Michael A. Stackpole

Plus, many many more.